Union Minister for Environment, Forests and Climate Change, Bhupender Yadav on Wednesday said accelerated habitat loss globally during the last decade, including decreased area under water bodies, wetlands, natural grasslands and forests, have proved to be major impediments for migratory birds.
Pointing out that migratory birds require nesting places and sufficient food for successful broods, Yadav said, “Over exploitation, unsustainable use of natural resource, population explosion along with increased weather variability, and climate change have resulted in loss of biodiversity for the migratory birds.”
Yadav was speaking at a virtual two-day CAF range countries’ meeting that was inaugurated on Wednesday.
Stating that conserving migratory birds requires cooperation and coordination along the entire Central Asian Flyway (CAF) between countries and across national boundaries, Yadav said, “Helping migratory birds survive is not a matter of choice for us but essential to our existence.”
“Only by working together can we ensure that the birds will survive and thrive. Migratory birds are seasonal guests with positive impacts. India is fortunate to witness incoming of large flocks during September-October signifying the beginning of migration,” he said.
The online meeting is anchored in Wildlife Institute of India (WII), wherein, India would be sharing its best practices on conservation of migratory birds and the National Action Plan with the CAF range countries, a release from the MoEF&CC said.
The meeting would also share information on activities and conservation priorities, and actions taking place within the CAF. The meeting would be attended by representatives from the CAF range countries, representatives from CMS, its sister organisations, experts in field from across the globe, scientists, officials and representatives from State/Union Territory Governments, etc.
“India has already launched a national action plan for the conservation of migratory birds along the Central Asian Flyway. Saving migratory birds means saving the wetlands, terrestrial habitats and saving of an ecosystem, benefitting communities dependent on wetlands. Migration is also an adaptation mechanism to help birds overcome weather adversities and unavailability of food in colder regions. The importance of bird migrations on the health of the ecosystems is well-established,” the Minister said.
Central Asian Flyway (CAF) covers a large area of Eurasia between the Arctic and Indian Oceans. This flyway comprises several important migration routes of birds. India has been actively involved in fostering flyway cooperation and has also organized inter-governmental meetings that have been critically important in developing and taking forward agreements and plans.
Including India, there are 30 countries under the Central Asian Flyway. India has launched a comprehensive National Action Plan (NAP) for conservation of migratory birds along the CAF, in 2018.
Considering the importance of conservation of migratory birds, Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his key note address during the opening ceremony of the 13th meeting of the Conference of Parties (CoP) to the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS) held at Gandhinagar in February 2020 had noted that India was keen to take the conservation of migratory birds to a new paradigm with active cooperation of all the Central Asian Flyway Range Countries and would be happy to facilitate preparation of Action Plan for other countries for conservation of migratory birds along the Central Asian Flyway.
A resolution (UNEP/CMS/Resolution 12.11 (Rev.COP13) and Decision 13.46 during the CMS COP 13 were adopted inter-alia providing for establishing, by COP14, under the umbrella of CMS an institutional framework, under the leadership of India and in consultation with the other range states and relevant stakeholders with the aim to agree on, inter alia, conservation priorities and related actions, and measures to support Parties with the implementation of conservation action for migratory birds in the region, including by promoting research, studies, assessments, capacity building and conservation initiatives thereby further strengthening the implementation of CMS and its avian-related instruments.